Croatia to be hub for sustainable tourism

by: Felicity Cousins | April 15, 2024

CROATIA: UN Tourism is working with the government of Croatia and the University of Zagreb to establish a research and development centre focused on sustainable tourism.

The minister of tourism and sport of Croatia, Nikolina Brnjac, and UN tourism secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create the research institution.

Croatia currently serves on UN Tourism’s Committee on Tourism and Sustainability, having chaired it between 2019 and 2023 and the country’s experience makes it a promising location to host the centre for positive change in the tourism sector.

Croatia will engage stakeholders from the public and private sectors, academia, and civil society to address some of the most critical challenges facing tourism.

Welcoming the collaboration, secretary-general Pololikashvili said: “Croatia leads by example in growing tourism in a sustainable manner. The new research centre in Zagreb will contribute to UN Tourism’s commitment to data-driven policymaking at the regional, national and destination level, ensuring tourism grows responsibly and inclusively, for the benefit of communities everywhere.”   

Minister of tourism and sport of Croatia Nikolina Brnjac said he was proud that UN Tourism has recognised Croatia’s efforts and put forward the initiative to create the first UN Tourism Centre for sustainable tourism in Croatia.

He said: “With the University of Zagreb as a partner in the establishment of this Centre, I am convinced that this Centre will be successful and provide very relevant research for future sustainable development of tourism.” 

Zagreb’s research centre will look at: 

  • Reducing the environmental impact of tourism, prioritising initiatives to minimise waste generation and plastic usage;
  • Increasing usage of renewable energy and energy efficiency: by promoting the adoption of renewable energy sources and implementing energy-efficient practices;
  • Accelerating adaptation to climate change: supporting adaptation strategies to enhance the resilience of tourism destinations and communities; 
  • Preserving social sustainability and local communities: the centre will work to safeguard the cultural heritage and livelihoods of local communities by promoting responsible tourism practices and equitable distribution of benefits;
  • Enhancing evidence-based policy making: through rigorous research and data analysis, the centre will provide policymakers with the evidence needed to formulate effective policies that balance tourism development with environmental and social considerations;
  • Providing relevant and updated research: the centre will serve as a hub for research and knowledge exchange, delivering insights and best practices for the sustainable development of tourism.

Image by Matthias Mullie on Unsplash